By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is very straight forward for the Penn Quakers on Saturday. Win up at Cornell, and they capture the Ivy League title outright.
They earned at least a share of that title last weekend when they played their best game of the year in a 30-21 win over an excellent Harvard team at Franklin Field.
“We peaked at the correct time,” Penn head coach Al Bagnoli tells KYW Newsradio. “It was a great team effort. We got out in front really early, made them play catch-up the entire game. And we were able to keep our ground attack going throughout the game which I thought was huge and that kept pressure off our quarterback and didn’t allow their front four to tee off against us.”
LISTEN: Matt Leon interviews Al Bagnoli
One big negative in the win was the fact that starting quarterback Billy Ragone suffered a season ending ankle injury. That means that senior Andrew Holland will take over the offense against the Big Red.
“We lose a great leader, a kid who has been really clutch in Billy,” Bagnoli says. “We’re very fortunate, we have a kid who is very experienced (in Holland), who has been in game scenarios this entire year, who understands the system and in his own right is a very accurate and good decision maker. So it’s not a disaster, but obviously you lose that dual-threat quarterback, that ability to run as well as throw the ball. And you lose a kid with a tremendous amount of experience and leadership.”
Holland has completed 52 of 82 passes this season (63%) for 572 yards and four touchdowns.
Cornell is 4-5 on the season and coming off back-to-back losses to Dartmouth and Columbia. But Bagnoli says they are a dangerous offensive team.
“They do a great job in terms of the schematics of getting people open. So we will certainly be tested. I think, once again, we’re going to have to do a good job on offense to be able to run the football, control the clock, minimize the amount of possessions that they have on offense. And hopefully create some favorable field position with our kick game. Those are all the ingredients that we used last week against Harvard and hopefully we can continue to use them this week against Cornell.”
Last year Cornell beat the Quakers at Franklin Field 48-38.
Penn and the Big Red kick-off at 12:30pm on Saturday in Ithaca, New York.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.